May 7, 2014
May 7, 2014
Five men and seven women will begin deliberating the fate of abduction and murder suspect Randy Taylor on Thursday morning after a busy day in the Nelson County courthouse.
The prosecution wrapped its case with testimony from Wayne Buraker, a prisoner who was living in the cell next to Randy Taylor shortly after his arrest. Buraker testified that he recognized Taylor based on coverage from Nancy Grace's television program.
He testified that he asked Taylor, "If you wouldn've done anything to Alexis Murphy, would you have vacuumed up the hair?"
Buraker testified Taylor responded: "Oh yeah, the first time I'd seen her, I wanted to f--- her my way."
Defense attorney Mike Hallahan tried to discredit Buraker's testimony to the jury, calling him a "whack job" who was fame-hungry with a long criminal past.
Once commonwealth's attorney Anthony Martin rested his case, Hallahan called his first witness. One woman claimed to have seen Murphy and Taylor together near a downtown Charlottesville parking garage after seeing the two on the news. She also testified about seeing a burgundy car driven by a man with dreadlocks.
An FBI agent previously testified that he checked tapes from the garage, and no people or vehicles matched any descriptions.
Two women also claimed to see a girl resembling Murphy walking in the Food Lion parking lot around 8:30 on Aug. 3, about an hour after Murphy's last contact with anyone.
The defense also called a number of friends who spoke about Murphy's character, saying she was happy where she was in life, looking forward to her senior year and college. Many said it would be unlike her to go to a stranger's house, especially alone.
In closing arguments, Martin called Murphy the "silent witness." Martin said Taylor "told lie after lie after lie," only admitting that he talked with Murphy after presented with DNA evidence. Martin said there's no evidence that Murphy left Taylor's trailer alive.
"This whole things was to satisfy his sexual urge," he told the jury.
Martin said despite a body never being found, "we know this child is not somewhere else living another life." He asked the jury for justice for both Murphy and her family.
Hallahan spent an hour discussing each of the witnesses who testified in detail during his closing statement.
"There's been no evidence of death," Hallahan said.
He accused the commonwealth of presenting too much "smear evidence," saying there was no evidence of sexual assault in the camper.
"You might think he probably did it, but you cannot convict based on that," he said.
After the closing arguments, the case was formally handed over to the jury. Jurors quickly decided shortly after 6 p.m. to head home for the night and begin deliberations first thing Thursday morning.
Court resumes at 9:30 a.m.
The jury in the Randy Allen Taylor trial have received the case, and will begin deliberations Thursday morning.
The jury is about to receive instructions, then closing arguments begin in Randy Allen Taylor trial.
Both prosecution and defense will get an hour and 15 minutes for closing arguments.
UPDATE 1:14 PM
The defense for Randy Allen Taylor rests its case.
Three witnesses told the court that they saw someone who resembled Alexis Murphy after the time she went missing.
Six people testified that they are friends of Murphy, saying she would not go to a strange man's house alone. They spoke of Alexis' character and online persona, that the teenager had a good relationship with her family.
Both the defense and prosecution want to get closing arguments in today and hand over the case to the jury.
The prosecution rested its case against Randy Allen Taylor at 10:30 Wednesday morning.
Before resting, the prosecution called to the stand an inmate who was in a jail cell next to Taylor. Wayne Buraker told the Nelson County court that he spoke to Taylor, asking questions about his case.
Buraker testified that Taylor said, "The first time I had seen [Alexis Murphy], I wanted to [expletive] her my way."
The defense will make its case to jurors over the next several days.